This post in one of the first in a series I am calling – Back to Basics. I am going to draw on the expertise of the people who taught me to cook (my mum, gran and the Internet) . I noticed that I have a lot of younger readers and beginner cooks who message me for tips and advice, and I am hoping this segment will be informative. Now, obviously I don’t know EVERYTHING so I would love to collaborate with any foodies out there on this segment. If you want to share a back to basics recipe and want it featured on my blog please drop me an email. Below is a basic chocolate cupcake recipe everyone should have. These are gorgeous cupcakes, they are soft and chocolately, also if you fill the cupcake liners correctly these cupcakes wont peak. I added a few twists with the salt in the buttercream which intensifies the chocolate flavour and the spun sugar as a decoration. Spinning sugar is time consuming and difficult but with time and patience you can get the hang of it. I have also included some hints and tips if you are a beginner baker.
I was never very good at baking until I discovered some tips along the way. One of the most important things I learnt is that cooking is an art, you can go with taste and feel as you cook but baking on the other hand is a science. When you bake accuracy is the key to a good final product. I am by no means and expert at baking but these are few basic tips that can inspire you to success in your culinary conquests. Also, feel free to add your own handy hints 🙂
– Invest in a digital kitchen scale. I prefer recipes that measure in grams so that there is better accuracy than using cups and spoons.
– Another investment is good quality bake ware. I used silicone muffin tins before and they work brilliantly especially if you have limited space, but I must admit I prefer metallic bake ware.
– Use good quality ingredients. I always splurge on good quality vanilla extract and cocoa powder. It goes a long way in improving the flavour and quality of the final product.
– Know your oven and adjust your temperature accordingly.
My mum taught me to work with caramel when I was younger and over the years I picked up a few tips:
– If you a beginner start with a wet caramel instead of a dry one. A dry caramel is when you put plain sugar in a pot and allow it to caramelise, this happens very quickly and the caramel can burn in seconds. A wet caramel on the other hand includes water with the sugar which you boil together like a syrup and than it gradually changes colour.
– A lot of cooks will tell you that when making a caramel you should brush the sides of the pot down and not stir the mixture. Honestly, I don’t think either thing makes a difference. Even if it looks like the sugar has crystalized don’t stress, it will eventually melt into caramel.
– If you want to spin sugar like a pro, take a wire cutter and cut a ballon whisk in half. Dip the tines in the caramel and flick from a height for some really beautiful sugar work.
– Be very, very careful when working with melted sugar. It burns. BADLY! Always keep a bowl of ice water nearby.
– Spun sugar melts very quickly especially on buttercream so do it just before serving.
– Don’t do sugar work when its very humid outside.
[yumprint-recipe id=’6′] P.S. These pics were taken with a cell phone so apologies for the poor quality.